POLAND, Ohio (WKBN) – The Poland Township Police Department welcomed a new member to the force. K-9 Pogo, a rescue dog from Tennessee, is joining the ranks as a narcotics dog.
Poland Township Police Chief Greg Wilson said it was a year-long journey finding a capable rescue dog to join their department.
The Throw Away Dog Project, based in Philadelphia, helped make the goal a reality.
The organization finds and trains dogs for police work and donates them to police forces across the world.
That is how K-9 Pogo ended up finding a home in the Mahoning Valley.
Pogo is around two years old and ready to further her training in becoming Poland Township’s newest K-9. She started training on Monday.
Pogo is unlike your typical police dog, she was a stray dog.
“What do you do with a dog that is quote, unquote, misunderstood,” said Carol Skaziak of the Throw Away Dog Project.
The Throw Away Dog Project found Pogo through one of their trainers, who believed she had the potential to be a great police dog.
Carol says after a 30-minute conversation with Poland’s Chief Greg Wilson, she knew Pogo was the right fit for their department.
Chief Wilson made it clear he wanted a rescue dog for their department. He agreed, Pogo was the answer.
“I’ve worked with shelter dogs for numerous years now and I see the capabilities of these dogs,” said Chief Wilson.
After a long road trip, Pogo was greeted by the department Saturday evening. Everyone was excited to meet the department’s newest member.
“She’s going to be a community dog. She’s going to be in our parade. She’s going to be in our safety forces day. She’s going to be going to the school, visiting with the kids,” Chief Wilson said.
Pogo still will need additional training one-on-one with her handler before hitting the streets. Pogo eventually will be a narcotics detection dog, but she still has a long way before she hits the streets.
“If he likes our process and our dog and I like working with that department, I will absolutely grant him as many K-9 dogs in his department to grow at no cost,” Skaziak said.
The department plans to continue working with the Throw Away Dog Project to rebuild the K-9 program.
Kristen McFarland contributed to this report.